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Saddam HusseinFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.(Redirected from Saddam)Saddam HusseinEnlargeSaddam HusseinSaddām Hussein ʻAbd al-Majid al-Tikrītī (Often spelled Husayn or Hussain; Arabic صدام حسين عبدالمج& #1610;د التكريت& #1610;; born April 28, 1937 1) was President of Iraq from 1979 to 2003.A rising star in the revolutionary Ba'ath Party, which espoused secular pan-Arabism, economic modernization, and socialism, Saddam (see 2 regarding names) played a key role in the bloodless 1968 coup that brought the party to power. As vice president under the frail and elderly General Ahmed Bakr, Saddam tightly controlled conflict between government departments and the armed forces at a time when many organizations were considered capable of overthrowing the government by forging a repressive security apparatus. Meanwhile, Iraq's economy grew at a rapid pace in the 1970s. 3As president, he developed a pervasive personality cult, ran an authoritarian government, and maintained power through the devastating Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and the first Persian Gulf War (1991), which both corresponded with a sharp decline in living standards and the human rights situation. Saddam Hussein's government, in particular, engaged in hard repression of movements that it deemed threatened his rule, as well as of ethnic groups that sought independence or autonomy.While he remained a popular hero among many disaffected Arabs for standing up to the West and for his staunch support for the Palestinians,4 the United States continued to view Saddam with deep suspicion following the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Saddam was deposed by the U.S. and its allies during the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Captured by U.S. forces on December 13, 2003, he will stand trial under the new Iraqi government set up by U.S.-led forces.Contents [showhide]1 Youth2 Rise in the Ba'ath party3 Consolidation of power3.1 Saddam's consolidation of power and the modernization of Iraq3.2 Succession4 Saddam Hussein as a secular leader5 Foreign affairs5.1 The Iran-Iraq War5.2 Tensions with Kuwait6 The Persian Gulf War6.1 Postwar aftermath7 1991-20038 2003 invasion of Iraq8.1 Pursuit and capture9 Trial10 Personal11 Notes12 Related articles13 External linksYouthSaddam Hussein was born in the village of Al-Awja, in the Tikrit district of Iraq, to a family of sheep-herders. His mother named her newborn 'Saddam,' which in Arabic means 'one who confronts.' He never knew his father, Hussein 'Abd al-Majid, who died or disappeared five months before Saddam was born. Shortly afterwards, Saddam's twelve-year-old brother died of cancer, leaving his mother severely depressed in the final months of the pregnancy
She attempted both to abort Saddam and kill herself and refused to care for her new child when he was born. The infant Saddam was sent to the family of his maternal uncle, Khairallah Tulfah, until he was three.5His mother, Subha Tulfah al-Mussallat, remarried, and Saddam gained three half-brothers through this marriage. His stepfather, Ibrahim al-Hassan, treated Saddam Hussein harshly after his return. He was abusive and forced the young boy to steal chickens and sheep for resale.At the age of ten, he fled the family to return to live with his uncle, who was a devout Sunni Muslim, in Baghdad. Later in his life, relatives from his native Tikrit would become some of his most influential and powerful advisors and supporters. According to Saddam, he learned many things from his uncle, especially the lesson that he should never back down from his enemies, no matter how superior their numbers or capabilities.
Under the guidance of his uncle, he attended a nationalistic secondary school in Baghdad. In 1957, at age 20, Saddam joined the revolutionary pan-Arab Ba'ath Party, of which his uncle was a supporter.Revolutionary sentiment was characteristic of the era in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. The stranglehold of the old elites (the conservative monarchists, established families, and merchants) was breaking down in Iraq. Moreover, the populist pan-Arab nationalism of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt would profoundly influence the young Ba'athist, even up to the present day. The rise of Nasser foreshadowed the wave of revolutions throughout the Middle East in the fifties and sixties, which would see the collapse of the monarchies of Iraq, Egypt, and Libya.
Nasser challenged the British and French, nationalized the Suez Canal, and strove to modernize Egypt and unite the Arab world politically.Rise in the Ba'ath partyA year after Saddam had joined the Ba'ath party, army officers led by General Abdul Karim Qassim overthrew Faisal II of Iraq. The Ba'athists opposed the new government, and in 1959, Saddam was involved in the attempted assassination of Prime Minister Qassim. Saddam was shot in the leg, but managed to flee to Syria, from where he later moved to Egypt. He was sentenced to death, in absentia. In exile he attended the University of Cairo law school.Army officers, including some aligned with the Ba'ath party, came to power in Iraq in a military coup in 1963.
However, the new government was ousted quickly, within seven to eight months torn by rife factionalism. Saddam returned to Iraq, but was imprisoned in 1964 when an anti-Ba'ath group led by Abdul Rahman Arif took power. He escaped from jail in 1967 and became one of the leading members of the party. According to many biographers, Saddam never forgot the tensions within the first Ba'athist government, namely party unity and the ruthless resolve to maintain power and programs to ensure social stability.In July 1968 a second coup brought the Ba'athists back to power under General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, a Tikriti and a relative of Saddam. The Ba'ath's ruling clique named Saddam vice-chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council and vice president of Iraq.Consolidation of powerSaddam Hussein talking withEnlargeSaddam Hussein talking with Ahmed Hassan al-BakrIn 1976 Saddam was appointed a general in the Iraqi armed forces.
He rapidly became the strongman of the government, and was the de facto ruler of Iraq some years before he formally came to power in 1979. He slowly began to consolidate his power over Iraq's government and the Ba'ath party. Relationships with fellow party members were carefully cultivated, and Saddam soon gained a powerful circle of support within the party.As Iraq's weak and elderly President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr became increasingly unable to execute the duties of his office, Saddam began to take an increasingly prominent role as the face of the Iraqi government, both internally and externally. He soon became the architect of Iraq's foreign policy and represented the nation in all diplomatic situations. By the late 1970s, Saddam had emerged as the undisputed de facto leader of Iraq.Saddam's consolidation of power and the modernization of IraqSaddam consolidated power in a nation riddled with profound tensions. Long before Saddam, Iraq had been split along social, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic fault lines: Sunni versus Shi'ite, Arab versus Kurd, tribal chief versus urban merchant, nomad versus peasant.Stable rule in a country torn by political factionalism and conflict required the improvement of living standards. Thus, Saddam, a rising star in the new government, aided party attempts to strengthen and unify the Ba'ath party by taking a leading role in addressing the country's major domestic problems and expanding the party's following.Saddam actively fostered the modernization of the Iraqi economy along with the creation of a strong security apparatus to prevent coups within the power structure and insurrections apart from it.
Ever concerned with broadening his base of support among the diverse elements of Iraqi society and mobilizing mass support, he closely followed the administration of state welfare and development programs.At the center of this strategy was Iraq's oil. On June 1, 1972, Saddam Hussein led the process of expropriating Western oil companies, which had had a monopoly on the country's oil. A year later, world oil prices rose dramatically as a result of the 1973 world oil shock, and Saddam was able to pursue an all the more ambitious agenda through skyrocketing oil revenues.Within a period of just several years, the state provided some social services to Iraqi people unprecedented in other Middle Eastern countries. Saddam initiated and controlled the 'National Campaign for the Eradication of Illiteracy' and the campaign for 'Compulsory Free Education in Iraq,' and largely under his auspices, the government established universal free schooling up to the highest education levels, supported families of soldiers, granted free hospitalization to everyone, and gave subsidies to farmers. The government also made great progress in building roads, promoting mining, and development of other industries to diversify the oil-dependent economy.Saddam effected a comprehensive revolution in energy industries as well as in public services such as transport and education, which, like his land reform policies, was also especially popular in the countryside. Electricity was brought to nearly every city in Iraq, including many communities in the countryside and far outlying areas.Before the early 1970s, the majority of the population resided in the countryside, where Saddam himself was born and raised; and peasants accounted for roughly two thirds of the populace.
This number would decrease dramatically, though, during the rapid industrialization and urbanization of Iraq in the 1970s, which was propelled by Saddam's channeling of oil revenues into the rapidly growing Iraqi industrial sector and the new Ba'athist welfare programs.Nevertheless, Saddam focused intensely on fostering loyalty to the Ba'athist government in the rural areas. After nationalizing foreign oil interests, Saddam supervised the modernization of the Iraqi countryside, the mechanization of agriculture on a large scale, and the distribution of land to farmers.6 He broke up the large holdings of the landowners and gave land to peasant farmers. The Ba'athists established farm co-operatives, in which profits were distributed in accordance with the labours of the individual peasant and the unskilled were trained. The government's commitment to agrarian reform was demonstrated by the doubling of expenditures for agriculture development in 1974-1975, a policy that Saddam largely spearheaded. Moreover, agrarian reform in Iraq improved the living standards of the broad strata of the peasantry and increased production, though not to the levels for which Saddam had hoped.By focusing on the implementation role (often to the point of micromanaging), Saddam became personally associated with Ba'athist welfare and economic development programs in the eyes of many Iraqis, thus widening his original popular base of support while co-opting new sectors of the Iraqi population.
Part of a combination of 'carrot and stick' tactics, expanding government services forged patron-client ties between Saddam and his support base among the working class and the peasantry and within the party and the government bureaucracy.Saddam's ruthless organizational prowess was credited with Iraq's rapid pace of development in the 1970s; development went forward at such a fevered pitch that two million persons from other Arab countries and Yugoslavia worked in Iraq to meet the growing demand for labor.SuccessionIn 1979 President al-Bakr began to make treaties with Syria, also under Ba'athist leadership, that would lead to unification between the two countries. Syrian President Hafez al-Assad would become deputy leader in a union, and this would drive Saddam to obscurity. Before this could happen, however, the ailing al-Bakr resigned on July 16, 1979. Saddam formally assumed the presidency.Shortly afterwards, he convened an assembly of Ba'ath party leaders on July 22, 1979. During the assembly, which he ordered videotaped, Saddam claimed to have found spies and conspirators within the Ba'ath Party and read out the names of members who he thought could oppose him.
These members were labeled 'disloyal' and were removed from the room one by one to face a firing squad. After the list was read, Saddam congratulated those still seated in the room for their past and future loyalty.Saddam Hussein as a secular leaderSaddam saw himself as a social revolutionary and a modernizer, following the model of Nasser. To the consternation of Islamic conservatives, his government gave women added freedoms and offered them high-level government and industry jobs. Saddam also created a Western-style legal system, making Iraq the only country in the Persian Gulf region not ruled according to traditional Islamic law (Sharia). Saddam abolished the Sharia law courts, except for personal injury claims.Domestic conflict impeded Saddam's modernizing projects. Iraqi society is divided along lines of language, religion and ethnicity; Saddam's government rested on the support of the 20 percent minority of largely working-class, peasant, and petite bourgeoisie Sunni Muslims, continuing a pattern that dates back at least to the British mandate authority's reliance on them as administrators.The Shi'a majority were long a source of opposition to the government due to its secular policies, and the Ba'ath Party was increasingly concerned about potential Sh'ia Islamist influence following the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The Kurds of northern Iraq (who are Sunni Muslims but not Arabs) were also permanently hostile to the Ba'athist party's Arabizing tendencies. To maintain his regime against sources of opposition, the core of Saddam's government was made up of a retinue of close relatives and members of his Tikriti tribe.In dealing with Shiites, Kurds, Communists, and other likely regime opponents, the government tended either to provide them with benefits so as to co-opt them into the regime, or to take repressive measures against them. The major instruments for accomplishing this control were the paramilitary and police organizations. Beginning in 1974, Taha Yassin Ramadan, a close associate of Saddam, commanded the People's Army, which was responsible for internal security.
As the Ba'ath Party's paramilitary, the People's Army acted as a counterweight against any coup attempts by the regular armed forces. In addition to the People's Army, the Department of General Intelligence (Mukhabarat) was the most notorious arm of the state security system, feared for its use of torture and assassination. Commanded by Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam's younger half-brother since 1982, foreign observers believed that this department operated both at home and abroad in their mission to seek out and eliminate opponents of Saddam Hussein.  (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query)Saddam justified Iraqi patriotism by claiming a unique role of Iraq in the history of the Arab world. As president, Saddam made frequent references to the Abbasid period, when Baghdad was the political, cultural, and economic capital of the Arab world. He also promoted Iraq's pre-Islamic role as the ancient cradle of civilization Mesopotamia, alluding to such historical figures as Nebuchadnezzar and Hammurabi.
He devoted resources to archaeological explorations. In effect, Saddam sought to combine pan-Arabism and Iraqi nationalism, by promoting the vision of an Arab world united and led by Iraq.As a sign of his consolidation of power, Saddam's personality cult pervaded Iraqi society. Thousands of portraits, posters, statues and murals were erected in his honor all over Iraq. His face could be seen on the sides of office buildings, schools, airports, and shops, as well as on Iraqi currency. Saddam's personality cult reflected his efforts to appeal to the various elements in Iraqi society.
He appeared in the costumes of the Bedouin, the traditional clothes of the Iraqi peasant (which he essentially was during his childhood), and even Kurdish clothing, but also appeared in Western suits, projecting the image of an urbane and modern leader. Sometimes he would be portrayed as a devout Muslim, wearing full headdress and robe, praying toward Mecca; at other times, he would be shown wearing a Western business suit and sunglasses, brandishing a rifle over his head.Foreign affairsSaddam Hussein meeting with , then , during a state visit to in 1976Saddam Hussein meeting with Jacques Chirac, then Prime Minister of France, during a state visit to Paris in 1976In foreign affairs, Saddam sought to have Iraq play a leading role in the Middle East. Iraq signed an aid pact with the Soviet Union in 1972, and arms were sent along with several thousand advisers. However, the 1978 executions of Iraqi Communists and a shift of trade toward the West strained Iraqi relations with the Soviet Union, which took on a more Western orientation from then until the Persian Gulf War in 1991.He made a state visit to France in 1976, cementing close ties with some French business and conservative political circles. Saddam led Arab opposition to the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel (1979). In 1975 he negotiated an accord with Iran that contained Iraqi concessions on border disputes.
In return, Iran agreed to stop supporting opposition Kurds in Iraq.Saddam initiated Iraq's nuclear enrichment project in the 1980s, with French assistance. The first Iraqi nuclear reactor was named by the French Osiraq, after the Egyptian God of the dead. It was destroyed by an Israeli air strike shortly before it became capable of producing weapons grade nuclear material.After Saddam had negotiated the 1975 treaty with Iran, Shah Pahlavi withdrew support for the Kurds, who suffered a total defeat. Nearly from its founding as a modern state in 1920, Iraq has had to deal with Kurdish separatists in the northern part of the country. Saddam did negotiate an agreement in 1970 with separatist Kurdish leaders, giving them autonomy, but the agreement broke down. The result was brutal fighting between the government and Kurdish groups and even Iraqi bombing of Kurdish villages in Iran, which caused Iraqi relations with Iran to deteriorate.The Iran-Iraq WarMain article: Iran-Iraq WarIn 1979 Iran's Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution, thus giving way to an Islamic republic led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. The influence of revolutionary Shi'ite Islam grew apace in the region, particularly in countries with large Shi'ite populations, especially Iraq.
Saddam feared that radical Islamic ideas-hostile to his secular rule-were rapidly spreading inside his country among the majority Shi'ite population.There had also been bitter enmity between Saddam and Khomeini since the 1970s. Khomeini, having been exiled from Iran in 1964, took up residence in Iraq, at the Shi'ite holy city of An Najaf. There he involved himself with Iraqi Shi'ites and developed a strong, worldwide religious and political following. Under pressure from the Shah, who had agreed to a rapprochement between Iraq and Iran in 1975, Saddam agreed to expel Khomeini in 1978. After the Islamic Revolution, Khomeini perhaps regarded toppling Saddam's government as a goal second only to consolidating power in Iran.After Khomeini gained power, skirmishes between Iraq and revolutionary Iran occurred for ten months over the sovereignty of the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway, which divides the two countries.
Iraq and Iran entered into open warfare on September 22, 1980. The pretext for hostilities with Iran was this territorial dispute, but the war was more likely an attempt by Saddam, supported by both the United States and the Soviet Union, to have Iraq form a bulwark against the expansion of radical Iranian-style revolution.Saddam Hussein meeting with , at the time 's special envoy to the , during a visit to , in . Video frame capture, see the complete video (http://www.misc-web.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/nsa archive media.html)Saddam Hussein meeting with Donald Rumsfeld, at the time Ronald Reagan's special envoy to the Middle East, during a visit to Baghdad, Iraq in 1983. Video frame capture, see the complete video (http://www.misc-web.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/nsa archive media.html)In the first days of the war, there was heavy ground fighting around strategic ports as Iraq launched an attack on Iran's oil-rich, Arab-populated province of Khuzestan. After making some initial gains, Iraq's troops began to suffer losses from human-wave attacks by Iran. By 1982 Iraq was looking for ways to end the war.Iraq quickly found itself bogged down in one of the longest and most destructive wars of attrition of the twentieth century, with atrocities committed on both sides.
During the war, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iranian forces and Kurdish separatists. On March 16, 1988 Iraqi troops, attempting to crush a Kurdish uprising in the Al-Anfal Campaign, attacked the Kurdish town of Halabjah with a mix of poison gas and nerve agents, perhaps killing around five thousand people, mostly civilians. Dissenting opinions dispute the numbers and have said the incident was actually a battle in the Iran-Iraq war where chemical weapons were used on both sides and a significant portion of the fatalities were caused by the Iranian weapons. Whether or not Iran had used chemical weapons in that particular battle remains unclear.Saddam reached out to other Arab governments for cash and political support. The Iranians, hoping to bring down Saddam's secular government and instigate a Shi'ite rebellion in Iraq, refused a cease-fire until 1988.The bloody eight-year war ended in a stalemate. There were hundreds of thousands of casualties.
Perhaps upwards of 1.7 million died on both sides. Both economies, previously healthy and expanding, were left in ruins.Iraq was also stuck with a war debt of roughly $75 billion. Borrowing money from the U.S. was making Iraq into its client state, embarrassing a strongman who had sought to define and dominate Arab nationalism. Saddam also borrowed a tremendous amount of money from other Arab states during the 1980s to fight Iran. Faced with rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, Saddam desperately sought out cash once again, this time for postwar reconstruction.Tensions with KuwaitThe end of the war with Iran served to deepen latent tensions between Iraq and its wealthy neighbor Kuwait.
Saddam saw his war with Iran as having spared Kuwait from the imminent threat of Iranian domination. Since the struggle with Iran had been fought for the benefit of the other Persian Gulf Arab states as much as for Iraq, he argued, a share of Iraqi debt should be forgiven. Saddam urged the Kuwaits to forgive the Iraqi debt accumulated in the war, some $30 billion, but the Kuwaitis refused.Also to raise money for postwar reconstruction, Saddam pushed oil-exporting countries to raise oil prices by cutting back oil production. Kuwait refused to cut production. In addition to refusing the request, Kuwait spearheaded the opposition in OPEC to the cuts that Saddam had requested.
Kuwait was pumping large amounts of oil, and thus keeping prices low, when Iraq needed to sell high-priced oil from its wells to pay off a huge debt.Meanwhile, Saddam showed disdain for the Kuwait-Iraq boundary line (actually imposed on Iraq by British imperial officials in 1922) because it cut Iraq off from the sea. One of the few articles of faith uniting the political scene in a nation rife with sharp social, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic divides was the belief that Kuwait had no right to even exist in the first place. For at least half a century, Iraqi nationalists were espousin ...
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